The inaugural Publisher Podcast Summit in London this month featured podcasting tips from some of the UK’s leading publishers. Speakers offered advice on commercial strategy, podcast production, episode planning and equipment choices throughout the full day event. Bron Maher, writing for Press Gazette, rounded up the top podcasting tips from the day.
- Representatives from UK newspapers the Evening Standard, The Telegraph and the Times, joined staff from magazines The Big Issue, Women’s Running and The Week Junior with online publishers Tortoise and Buzzfeed to share their podcasting tips.
- The agenda covered subjects from brand alignment to using podcasts for subscription sales and audio-first publishing. One theme running through all of the day’s sessions was that podcasting should be considered as part of a publishing portfolio.
- The News Statesman’s Chris Stone said that he was beginning to see success across audience growth, editorial quality and revenues by working to integrate all the different parts of the business.
Print, digital, audiovisual, social media, events, subscriptions and marketing are working together to create a true cross-platform product which builds community and creates engaging campaign offerings for commercial partners.
Publisher podcasting tips
Head of culture at Buzzfeed and one of the hosts of its Seasoned Sessions podcast, Ada Enechi, said that listening and adapting to audience feedback was key to podcasting success. She said:
If you’re hearing from nobody, I think that’s when maybe you should be a bit worried.
Esther Newman of the Women’s Running podcast explained that they had changed the format of their show, pulling back from guests interviews to speak more personally about their own lives. Speaking about the listeners, she said:
They became invested in us as people as much as they were invested in us as runners.
Hosts and guests
According to Theodora Louloudis, former head of podcasts at The Telegraph, the best podcast hosts are the ones who really know their audience, who know which guests will be best for their demographic. And she believes even people who are initially ‘a bit nervous’ behind the microphone can be taught to be good podcast hosts.
As long as they want to be behind a microphone… you can get everyone to podcast.
Olive Magazine’s Janine Ratcliffe said that the best podcast hosts are those that are most interested in their guests. Her top podcast tip for getting guests to engage was to ask them to come up with ten talking points they think are most important to their subject.
It’s not about you, it’s about that person. So you can’t underestimate doing your research.
Ben Youatt, head of podcasts at Immediate Media, said that publishers launching a new podcast should look at a ten week series. He explained that it’s important to give yourself long enough to test and learn week-to-week. He explained:
Do two weeks where you release a promo video the same day the episode goes out; do two weeks where you release a promo video a week before your episode goes out; put it on the homepage of the website, put it in the newsletter, and do each of these things as individual tests that can be isolated.
Head of editorial at Black Ballad, Jendella Benson, is host of the publisher’s black maternity and parenting podcast The Survival Guide. She said the podcast is treated as a standalone product, but does refer listeners to its website membership. She said it was important to keep paying customers top of mind when creating a podcast:
As long as you keep your audience at the centre, you can pretty much figure it out.